Football

Jose Mourinho understands Christian Eriksen’s struggles

But Waddle believes Spurs should cash in on wantaway midfielder

Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho said it is "normal" that someone in Christian Eriksen's predicament would struggle to "perform at the highest level".

Some Spurs fans jeered the Dane during their side's 1-0 defeat by runaway English Premier League leaders Liverpool last Saturday.

It was the latest in a series of anonymous performances by the 27-year-old midfielder this season.

FA CUP THIRD-ROUND REPLAY
TOTTENHAM MIDDLESBROUGH

The playmaker's form has gone off a cliff, after proclaiming that he wanted a new challenge last June.

Speaking ahead of Spurs' FA Cup third-round replay against second-tier Middlesbrough tomorrow morning (Singapore time), Mourinho said: "One thing is to not put in his best performance, that is Christian Eriksen and so many players around the world.

"For different reasons, you have better seasons than others, better matches than others.

"If you ask me if I think this is the best Christian Eriksen - I have to be honest and say no.

"If you ask me if I know the reasons - I'm not an idiot, I have been in football for many years.

"I know clearly that a player in this situation is not a player that - even if he wants, I am not blaming or criticising the player - it is normal that he doesn't perform at the highest level.

"I can also say that he is helping us in matches that he is playing. He had positive performances and contributions.

"If I remember the game against Olympiakos, he came in and gave us a lot, the same against Norwich.

"Our fans thought he didn't have a great performance against Liverpool - I have to agree with that."

Despite this, Mourinho insists that Eriksen will play against Boro.

Eriksen has been linked with a cut-price move to Serie A side Inter Milan, ahead of his contract expiring at the end of the season.

WAVE FAREWELL

As he walked off the pitch after the defeat by Liverpool, Eriksen, scorer of 51 goals in 223 EPL games for Spurs, appeared to wave farewell to the fans.

Former Spurs winger Chris Waddle believes his former club should cash in on the wantaway midfielder.

He told the Racing Post: "Tottenham should try to sell Eriksen if they don't want to lose him almost certainly for free in the summer.

"It's clear that Mourinho doesn't care so much about the Dane, who could move to Serie A or La Liga. If Inter offered about £15 million (S$26.3), Spurs would be biting their fingers if they declined."

Potentially replacing Eriksen at Spurs could be Benfica midfielder Gedson Fernandes, who will reportedly have a medical in London this morning.

Media reports suggest the 21-year-old is on a verge of an 18-month loan deal with an obligation to buy.

Said Benfica coach Bruno Lage: "Market questions will arise and there will be many.

"Today I speak only of the players who train with us. Gedson did not train with us."

Mourinho, meanwhile, was more coy about the situation.

Asked about Fernandes, he said: "I'm waiting for news, but when I say I am waiting, the news could come or not.

"I'm more worried about Middlesbrough than the market.

"Of course, with the rules even if you get the player, you cannot play him in a replay.

"I cannot answer because I don't know if we are getting him, he's a Benfica player.

"I don't think the Benfica coach and president, both my friends, will be happy if I speak about one of their players."

Meanwhile, Mourinho appeared to suggest that star striker Harry Kane could miss Euro 2020 after he had surgery to repair a ruptured tendon in his left hamstring.

Asked about the England captain's status, the 56-year-old said: "We try the best we can.

"News on Harry we don't have, and if you ask me every time we come here, the answer will be the same.

"We expect him to be out until mid-April, end of April, May, next season, I don't know."

The European Championship kicks off in June.

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